Rodgers breathes sigh of relief as Arsenal focus switches from Leicester

Luke Thomas, Youri Tielemand and James Maddison celebrating for Leicester

A report claims Leicester City can plan for the season with midfielder James Maddison as Arsenal are set to prioritise a move for Martin Odegaard instead.

The Gunners have been linked with a move for Foxes ace Maddison all summer. Mikel Arteta has already brought in Ben White, Nuno Tavares and Albert Sambi Lokonga but is not done yet. The Spaniard is known to want a new midfielder in his ranks.

Lyon’s Houssem Aouar has been mentioned as a possible target but only if they fail to land either of the other two. Real Madrid star Odegaard spent the second half of last season on loan at the Emirates.

The Norway international made nine starts among 14 Premier League appearances, scoring once. The 22-year-old impressed and it was felt the north Londoners wanted him back on permanent terms.

But the emergence of Maddison as a target seems to have muddied the waters. Leicester do not want to lose their England star and have slapped a £60m price tag on the former Norwich City man.

Martin Odegaard Norway v Greece head shot June 6

And, according to The Telegraph’s Mike McGrath (via Football Fancast), a move for the Scandinavian is far more likely

“They are also still interested in Martin Odegaard, who excelled on loan from Real Madrid last season, and their pursuit of the Norwegian could go into the final days of the window,” McGrath wrote.

“Odegaard is a more likely option than Leicester City’s James Maddison, who has also been of interest.”

Jury out on Maddison Arsenal switch

Maddison has made 119 appearances for the East Midlanders, scoring 27 times, since joining from the Canaries on June 2018. Injuries and dip in form last term prompted a few pundits to question his abilities at the top level.

But there are also some notable commentators who feel a move to the Emirates would not be a step forward.

Manchester United legend Roy Keane said: “It’s a difficult one, [Jamie] Vardy had an opportunity to go to Arsenal – he turned it down.

“He got big money, turned it down, he got big money at Leicester let’s not kid ourselves. But Leicester, the group of players they have… they’ve got a new training ground.

“If he’s leaving Leicester, I don’t think Arsenal is the right option, if I was him I’d sit tight.”

And former Crystal Palace owner Simon Jordan believes a switch to Arsenal would be a ‘sideways move’.

Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers during the 2021 Community Shield

“I don’t think it’s a backwards move, but I don’t think it’s an upward move either to go to Arsenal,” he told talkSPORT. “Arsenal are a figment of our imagination, they are a rear-view mirror club right now.

“We don’t know whether [Mikel] Arteta is going to be anything more than a theory because right now he sits into the theory category.”

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